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After Nandyal victory, question of alliance with BJP looms over TDP

LiveMint logoLiveMint 29-08-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

The Nandyal bypoll in Andhra Pradesh was not just a matter of prestige, but also about political survival as the electoral battle was considered as a precursor to the 2019 general elections. Having won it with a huge margin, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is now in the driver’s seat.

While the TDP is relieved that it has not yet lost steam after three years of coming into power, it may have to deal with its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as recent political developments have indicated that YSR Congress Party’s (YSRCP) Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is warming up to the BJP.

“Whether we should continue with the BJP or not is a questions that will continue to be answered till the next general elections. They need to be clear if they want to go with Jagan or with us. Apart from that, we will continue to take on YSRCP head-on,” said a senior TDP functionary from Andhra Pradesh, on the condition of anonymity. He added that his party will wait for BJP’s national president Amit Shah to visit the state to get clarity on the issue.

In the last few months, the BJP has made it clear that it will go alone in Telangana, but has remained mum with regard to Andhra Pradesh.

Winning the Nandyal bypoll is a shot in the arm for the TDP, and the political situation is the same as it was in 2014, with the TDP and the YSRCP in the fray. Together, they occupied 96.24% of the total votes polled in 2014, while the Congress was a distant third with just 1,382 votes, still reeling from the public anger against it for the bifurcation of the state. TDP candidate Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy got 97,076 of the total 173,187 votes, while YSRCP’s Silpa Mohan Reddy polled 69,620 votes.

“YSRCP was banking on the Muslim votes with TDP having an alliance with the BJP. But Jagan did not speak out against (Narendra) Modi. But (chief minister N. Chandrababu) Naidu offered many positions to the community like an MLC seat and other chairman posts and also fulfilled his promises,” said A. Chandrasekhar, a political observer and vice-president, Human Rights Forum, Andhra Pradesh.

The TDP functionary mentioned earlier said the party had made it clear to the BJP to not put up its party flags, to upset the 57,000-plus Muslim voters out of the total 218,858 electors. “Jagan put up a good fight, and without a doubt he is still a force to reckon with. This was a good win for us,” he added.

Chandrasekhar added that Jagan not speaking out against Modi may have led to Muslims voting for the TDP as well.

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